Excellent Lesser Known Films

by ztmillers-2 | created - 24 Jun 2016 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

A non-comprehensive list of well-made movies that fly under the radar. (The author's ceiling is roughly 30,000 ratings on IMDb.) Films with merit that don't have a surplus of conversation to get them attention. If you've managed to track down any of these films already, good on you for being a treasure hunter. If not, this list covers a lot of genre, time periods, and nationalities, and it's always growing. Hope you find something here for you!

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1. Lamb (I) (2015)

R | 97 min | Drama

62 Metascore

When a man meets a young girl in a parking lot he attempts to help her avoid a bleak destiny by initiating her into the beauty of the outside world. The journey shakes them in ways neither expects.

Director: Ross Partridge | Stars: Ross Partridge, Oona Laurence, Jess Weixler, Tom Bower

Votes: 1,745 | Gross: $0.01M

2. Taste of Cherry (1997)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami | Stars: Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari, Safar Ali Moradi

Votes: 19,926 | Gross: $0.31M

3. A Patch of Blue (1965)

Unrated | 105 min | Drama, Romance

A blind, uneducated white girl is befriended by a black man, who becomes determined to help her escape her impoverished and abusive home life by introducing her to the outside world.

Director: Guy Green | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman, Wallace Ford

Votes: 6,788

4. Paper Moon (1973)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Drama

77 Metascore

During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Ryan O'Neal, Tatum O'Neal, Madeline Kahn, John Hillerman

Votes: 39,059 | Gross: $30.93M

5. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

63 Metascore

Guinevere Pettigrew, a middle-aged London governess, finds herself unfairly dismissed from her job. An attempt to gain new employment catapults her into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse.

Director: Bharat Nalluri | Stars: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, David Alexander

Votes: 25,388 | Gross: $12.29M

6. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

61 Metascore

Lovers' lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and... love.

Director: Michael Hoffman | Stars: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 23,571 | Gross: $16.07M

7. White Christmas (1954)

Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen

Votes: 29,219 | Gross: $30.00M

8. Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

92 Metascore

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément | Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon

Votes: 22,837 | Gross: $0.30M

9. The Swan Princess (1994)

G | 90 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

A power-hungry sorcerer curses a princess to live as a swan by day in this tale of everlasting love.

Director: Richard Rich | Stars: Jack Palance, Howard McGillin, Michelle Nicastro, Liz Callaway

Votes: 21,257 | Gross: $9.77M

10. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

G | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

75 Metascore

In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.

Director: Stanley Donen | Stars: Jane Powell, Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 19,949

11. Anywhere But Here (1999)

PG-13 | 114 min | Comedy, Drama

59 Metascore

A mother and daughter search for success in Beverly Hills.

Director: Wayne Wang | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Hart Bochner, Eileen Ryan

Votes: 16,348 | Gross: $18.65M

12. The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Passed | 152 min | Drama, Family, Romance

The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: James Stewart, Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde

Votes: 11,945 | Gross: $36.00M

13. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Passed | 63 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 9,555 | Gross: $0.97M

14. The Man from Laramie (1955)

Not Rated | 103 min | Western

A stranger, Will Lockhart, defies the local cattle baron and his sadistic son by working for one of his oldest rivals.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Cathy O'Donnell

Votes: 8,779

15. Titanic (1953)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama, History, Romance

An unhappily married couple struggle to deal with their problems while on board the ill-fated ship.

Director: Jean Negulesco | Stars: Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton

Votes: 5,955 | Gross: $4.91M

16. Father Goose (1964)

Approved | 118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Romance

During World War II, a man persuaded to live on an isolated island and spot aircraft finds himself responsible for a teacher and several students, all female.

Director: Ralph Nelson | Stars: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard, Jack Goode

Votes: 8,954 | Gross: $12.50M

17. Broken Blossoms (1919)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard

Votes: 8,812

18. In Your Eyes (2014)

Not Rated | 106 min | Fantasy, Romance

Two seemingly unconnected souls from different corners of the United States make a telepathic bond that allows them to see, hear and feel the other's experiences, creating a bond that apparently can't be broken.

Director: Brin Hill | Stars: Michael Stahl-David, Zoe Kazan, Mark Feuerstein, David Gallagher

Votes: 29,241

19. Lifeboat (1944)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

Several survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship in World War II find themselves in the same lifeboat with one of the U-boat men who sunk it.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, John Hodiak, Walter Slezak, William Bendix

Votes: 24,868

20. Orpheus (1950)

Not Rated | 95 min | Fantasy, Drama, Romance

A poet in love with Death follows his unhappy wife into the underworld.

Director: Jean Cocteau | Stars: Jean Marais, François Périer, María Casares, Marie Déa

Votes: 9,477

21. The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance, War

Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov | Stars: Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasiliy Merkurev, Aleksandr Shvorin

Votes: 13,405 | Gross: $0.02M

22. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Not Rated | 113 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

In the year leading up to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.

Director: Vincente Minnelli | Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer

Votes: 18,873 | Gross: $7.57M

23. Big Jake (1971)

GP | 110 min | Western

57 Metascore

In 1909, when John Fain's gang kidnaps Jacob McCandles' grandson and holds him for ransom, Big Jake sets out to rescue the boy.

Directors: George Sherman, John Wayne | Stars: John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara, Patrick Wayne

Votes: 10,356 | Gross: $7.50M

24. The Cat and the Canary (1927)

Passed | 108 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.

Director: Paul Leni | Stars: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall

Votes: 2,533 | Gross: $0.33M

25. Song of the South (1946)

Approved | 94 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

54 Metascore

The kindly story-teller Uncle Remus tells a young boy stories about trickster Br'er Rabbit, who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bear.

Directors: Harve Foster, Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Ruth Warrick, Bobby Driscoll, James Baskett, Luana Patten

Votes: 10,445 | Gross: $63.72M

26. Jour de Fête (1949)

Not Rated | 70 min | Comedy

Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabitants are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Tati | Stars: Jacques Tati, Guy Decomble, Paul Frankeur, Santa Relli

Votes: 6,955

27. Where Children Play (2015)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama

A young woman is forced to face her childhood demons. When tasked with returning home to care for her ailing abusive father.

Director: Leila Djansi | Stars: Macy Gray, Teyonah Parris, Brian White, Leon

Votes: 135

28. The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Approved | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi

An altruistic chemist invents a fabric which resists wear and stain as a boon to humanity, but big business and labor realize it must be suppressed for economic reasons.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker, Michael Gough

Votes: 8,224 | Gross: $0.01M

29. Rams (2015)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama

In a remote Icelandic farming valley, two brothers who haven't spoken in 40 years have to come together in order to save what's dearest to them - their sheep.

Director: Grímur Hákonarson | Stars: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving, Jón Benónýsson

Votes: 11,435 | Gross: $0.14M

30. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Passed | 121 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

86 Metascore

At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess

Votes: 11,399

31. Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

PG-13 | 92 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

73 Metascore

On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

Directors: Satoshi Kon, Shôgo Furuya | Stars: Tôru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, Aya Okamoto, Shôzô Îzuka

Votes: 27,538 | Gross: $0.13M

32. Christmas in July (1940)

Passed | 67 min | Comedy, Romance

When the co-workers of an ambitious clerk trick him into thinking he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest, he begins to use the money to fulfill his dreams. What will happen when the ruse is discovered?

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Alexander Carr

Votes: 3,015

33. The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)

Passed | 122 min | Western

Ranch owner Katie Elder's four sons determine to avenge the murder of their father and the swindling of their mother.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer, Michael Anderson Jr.

Votes: 13,379 | Gross: $13.33M

34. Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Not Rated | 150 min | Drama, History, Romance

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Frank Losee

Votes: 4,491 | Gross: $0.79M

35. Fort Apache (1948)

Passed | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Western

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Pedro Armendáriz

Votes: 15,292

36. Carnival of Souls (1962)

PG | 78 min | Horror, Mystery

After a traumatic accident, a woman becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival.

Director: Herk Harvey | Stars: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison

Votes: 18,654

37. Seven Chances (1925)

Passed | 56 min | Comedy, Romance

A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries by 7 p.m. that same day.

Director: Buster Keaton | Stars: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes, Snitz Edwards

Votes: 8,451 | Gross: $0.21M

38. The Other Woman (2009)

R | 102 min | Drama

37 Metascore

The story of a woman dealing with her daughter's death while trying to keep her marriage and her relationship with her stepson.

Director: Don Roos | Stars: Natalie Portman, Scott Cohen, Lisa Kudrow, Charlie Tahan

Votes: 18,101 | Gross: $0.02M

39. The Harvey Girls (1946)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Musical, Western

On a train trip West to become a mail-order bride, Susan Bradley meets a cheery crew of young women travelling out to open a " Harvey House " restaurant at a remote whistle-stop.

Director: George Sidney | Stars: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, John Hodiak, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 3,297

40. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943)

Approved | 98 min | Comedy, Romance, War

After an all-night send-off party for the troops, a small-town girl wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband's identity.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn, William Demarest

Votes: 6,353

41. Vivacious Lady (1938)

Approved | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

A professor marries a nightclub singer, much to the consternation of his family and friends back home.

Director: George Stevens | Stars: Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, James Ellison, Beulah Bondi

Votes: 2,934

42. Risen (2016)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, History

51 Metascore

In 33 AD, a Roman Tribune in Judea is tasked to find the missing body of Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead.

Director: Kevin Reynolds | Stars: Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, Cliff Curtis

Votes: 23,333 | Gross: $36.87M

43. Mon Oncle (1958)

Not Rated | 116 min | Comedy

Monsieur Hulot visits the technology-driven world of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, but he can't quite fit into the surroundings.

Director: Jacques Tati | Stars: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie, Lucien Frégis

Votes: 17,221

44. The Shack (I) (2017)

PG-13 | 132 min | Drama, Fantasy

32 Metascore

A grieving man receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God at a place called "The Shack."

Director: Stuart Hazeldine | Stars: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, Radha Mitchell

Votes: 27,234 | Gross: $57.33M

45. In a Lonely Place (1950)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery